There has been a lot of fight in this Detroit Titans team. They just have had a tough time finishing games. Coming into Monday night’s game at Green Bay, the Titans lost four in a row. The last three were all games that Detroit Mercy could have won down the stretch. The Titans were beating Oakland most of the first half. They fell behind and got within two with under 30 seconds left, only to lose by four. In a heartbreaking loss at Wright State, the Titans were up 12 with 7 minutes left, only to lose by one. At Milwaukee, the Titans were within two points with under two minutes left, only to lose by three. It looked like Monday night would feature the same script. The game was tied at 87 with under two minutes left. And then the Phoenix lead grew to 95-91, until senior Anton Wilson hit a three from his favorite corner spot and was fouled with six seconds left. He converted the free throw to tie the game at 95. Maybe the improbable four-point play would be the catalyst the Titans would need to win in overtime. But Paris Bass fouled out early in the extra session, and the Phoenix dominated it en route to a 115-108 victory. The loss is UDM’s fifth in a row, with the last four being games that were very close down the stretch. They are now 3-5 in Horizon League play. And they still have lost every road game they have played this season.
How do these tough losses affect a team’s psyche? Losing one or two nail-biters can be discouraging. But four close games in a row can make a team question itself. Players could start pointing fingers, and coaches may be tempted to completely change game plans. But sometimes you have to stay true to what got you there. Detroit Mercy is as talented offensively as any team around. Paris Bass continues to be unstoppable at times. The versatility of Chris Jenkins is difficult for opponents to adjust to. Anton Wilson can catch and shoot with the best of them. The Titans are not a good defensive team, and have struggled at the free throw line at some crucial moments. But the Titans continue to play very hard. Keep in mind that they fought back from larger deficits in some of these losses to make them close at the end. This mental fortitude and attitude of never giving up will bode well for them in the latter stages of the regular season. Expect the Titans to right the ship, and to do it soon. They have an important two game home-stand coming up, followed by a pair of winnable road games against two of the H-League’s bottom teams in Youngstown State and Cleveland State. Don’t panic if you are a Titans fan. This team may be a bit down, but they are far from out. They have the depth to make a run in the Horizon League Tournament. Once they just start winning those close games, look out.